x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Aldar considers Ferrari-label villas

Ferrari is considering teaming up with Aldar, the property developer, to bring Ferrari-branded luxury villas to Abu Dhabi.

Ferrari World is expected to open late next year and will be the world's largest indoor theme park.
Ferrari World is expected to open late next year and will be the world's largest indoor theme park.

Ferrari is considering teaming up with Aldar, the property developer, to bring Ferrari-branded luxury villas to Abu Dhabi. Aldar revealed the plan yesterday when it confirmed the completion of the shell of the first Ferrari World theme park on the US$40 billion (Dh146.9bn) Yas Island leisure destination. The park is expected to open late next year, Aldar said, after originally being slated to be ready for Sunday's Formula One race.

There was "a massive possibility - of creating further developments with Ferrari", said Mohammed al Mubarak, the chief commercial officer of Aldar Properties. Mubadala Development, the strategic investment arm of the Abu Dhabi Government and a shareholder in Aldar, took a 5 per cent stake in Ferrari in 2005, opening the way for joint ventures with the iconic Italian sports car maker. Ferrari executives expressed enthusiasm about further developing commercial opportunities.

"The connection is so strong and there's a base for a very interesting future," said Piero Ferrari, the vice chairman of Ferrari and son of the company founder Enzo Ferrari. "There may be other ways to develop the Ferrari brand, so we are talking with Aldar to see if there are new opportunities." He stressed the car company would consider only "top quality" projects. Aldar opened the largest Ferrari merchandise store in the world in Dubai this week.

Abu Dhabi was the first place "we found real interest to invest in the Ferrari brand and develop this concept of the theme park", Mr Ferrari said. Ferrari World, which will be the world's largest indoor theme park, will feature more than two dozen rides. They will include the world's fastest roller coaster, travelling at speeds exceeding 200kph, and a G-force experience ride that takes passengers up to a height of 62 metres. The park will also have six restaurants.

Mr al Mubarak said the theme park, which has the capacity to host 10,000 visitors a day, would help to establish Abu Dhabi as a "world-class leisure destination". Aldar said the cost of the development would be released once it was complete. The project is described as a "landmark" structure for Abu Dhabi, with its signature Ferrari red roof covering a surface area of 200,000 square metres. A giant Scuderia Ferrari prancing-horse badge, with a diameter of 66 metres, adorns the centre of the structure.

The park will be operated by Farah Leisure Park Management, a joint venture between Aldar and the ProFun Management Group of California. More than 4,500 people have worked around the clock over the past 14 months to complete the external structure, Aldar said. Yas Island, the development which hosts the grand prix race meeting, will eventually have more than 20 hotels, a vast shopping centre, a water park, yacht clubs and marinas.

Mr Ferrari said that while global sales of Ferraris had fallen by up to 8 per cent so far this year compared with last year, Middle East sales were up more than 30 per cent over the same period. @Email:rbundhun@thenational.ae